Lambda School, a buzzy coding bootcamp that has landed over $122 million in known venture capital to date, is rebranding to Bloom Institute of Technology, according to a blog post from CEO Austen Allred.
The company is also updating its tuition payment options to introduce an outcomes-based loan. The financing instrument allows students to take a loan with zero dollars upfront, and then get 110% of their tuition refunded, including fees and interest from an approved lender, if they are unable to secure a job within the next year. A student is only eligible for the refund if they apply to 10 jobs, network with 10 professionals and post at least 5 GitHub contributions to their public GitHub profile per week, for 46 of the 52 weeks within a year.
In order to apply for an outcomes-based loan, a student must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or DACA recipient with an established credit history and no outstanding education loan defaults. Additionally, temporary residents can apply for a loan with a co-signer who fits that criteria. At this stage, the outcomes-based loan is not available if a student lives in California. The move means that Bloom will be going beyond the original vision of scaling income-sharing agreements, the controversial financing vehicle that it pioneered. ISAs will continue to be offered as an option, with some changes.
Change at Lambda has felt inevitable for a long while. Nearly a year after its last layoff, Lambda School announced more cuts in April amid a broader restructuring. Then, Allred admitted that it’s been difficult to make his company’s vision work.
“We have been working for years on making incentive-aligned education work,” Allred tweeted in August. “It’s harder than we initially thought; we’ve had to invent a lot from scratch simultaneously and we have to get a lot of things exactly right.”
Lambda’s rebrand comes after years of scrutiny from former students and educators about the efficacy of its education. Most recently, independent journalist Vincent Woo published a piece alleging that Lambda is inflating its job-placement rates and then marketing those to eager students. The company is also facing a lawsuit from three former students alleging misleading financial and educational practices.
The name change could thus shake off some of the baggage the bootcamp has been holding onto (and help it attract more students).
“No matter which option you choose, you will be signing legally binding documents that will affect your finances,” BloomTech’s website states. “We’ll do everything we can to help you feel confident about your decision.” Moving to focus more explicitly on outcomes-based education places Bloom in the same bucket as other bootcamps eyeing accreditation as a future path (plus, the institutional-sounding name doesn’t hurt, either).
Ultimately, Lambda School was one of the most well-known coding bootcamps out there, with a solid flurry of “Lambda for X” competitors such as Henry and Microverse. Other companies also offer ISAs, such as Pursuit, V School, Launch School and the Grace Hopper Program. Lambda’s name recognition helped it become somewhat synonymous with the startup-powered bootcamp market. With today’s news, it will need to rebuild customer awareness alongside its pitch to get more customer loyalty.
BloomTech has not yet responded to requests for further comment from TechCrunch.